Probably the most fun appliance to purchase for a new home has got to be the television. TV technology has absolutely skyrocketed in the past decade and now for the first time in history, we have a plethora of sizes and options to choose from, all at prices infinitely more reasonable than in years past. It’s a little bit of a juggling act balancing the size, picture quality and features that works best in your budget, but with a little background, you can find the screen that perfectly fits your space.
Screen size is just about the first thing everyone is looking at when it comes to purchasing a television, but bigger isn’t always better. Sitting too far away from a TV that’s too small for your room can really take you out of the experience, but sitting too close to a large TV can also mess with your perception of definition and lead to eye strain. Ultimately, you want to be sitting at a distance of at least 3x the height of the screen from an HD television and 1.5x the height of a UHD television. Figuring out where your furniture will be in relationship to the screen will help you begin to establish how large of a television you should be purchasing.
In terms of picture quality, you’ll essentially be choosing between LCD, Plasma, or OLED screens (LED TVs are also an option and are very inexpensive right now, but that’s primarily because the technology is lagging behind and is on its way out). LCDs work great in well lit rooms and are very cost effective for casual viewing, however in terms of picture quality, they really don’t compare to Plasma or OLED technology. OLED is sort of the new cutting edge gold standard, delivering exceptional picture quality, incredible color contrast and a wide array of viewing angles all in a very thin profile, though at a very high price. Plasma is another technology that is sort of going out of style in favor of OLED, but it bears mentioning as right now incredible deals can be found on excellent plasma televisions that will provide picture quality relatively comparable to OLED screens for a fraction of the cost.
When shopping for your new television, you’ll be met with a tidal wave of features and options that can be used to dramatically mark up costs. The first of which is an “improved refresh rate”, or how many times a second the picture on screen is refreshed. The standard now is becoming to accept no television with a rate of less than 120 hz, though if you’re one of those people who finds yourself complaining that HDTVs make everything look “soap opera-y”, high refresh rates are to blame.
Smart TV’s are also all the rage in the past few years, making it possible to watch Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go right from your TV. While these services are undoubtedly a great way to save money and “cut the cord”, there are other options for streaming them to your television that can provide a better interface and save you tremendous amounts of money by leaving out this feature. Consider purchasing a Roku or Chromecast and putting your savings towards better picture quality.
No matter if you’re a casual viewer or a dedicated movie buff, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing a television. By asking yourself a few simple questions though, you can find the screen that’s right for you and your space.